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Archive for March, 2012

Saturday night at 8:30 pm is Human Achievement Hour. Stop cursing the darkness by turning on the lights!

Hat Tip: Five Feet of Fury, the last bastion of human civilization in Canada.

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  • Time of the signs: Let there be light

  • Comments are off for this post

    The Brokerage that plays together

    Long post ahead. I think it is worth your time. ;-)
    The first presentation that I ever did on SEO was titled “SEO is a team sport”. I am a team sport kind of guy. I know that it may sound wierd coming from a rugged individualist, but it is or at least can be totally true. I have an example that (hopefully) proves my point.
    I have mentioned my friend Gary Lundholm before. His brokerage has 150 plus agents and is a sizeable force in the Virginia Beach / Hampton Roads market. The way that he and his partners foundeed their brokerage was on providing the most and best tools and training to their agents. And then teaching a trusting that their agents would respect themselves and each other enough to work together as a cohesive and yet competitive team in the same market with each other. It is a team sport.

    Coopetition. It is when Cooperation and Competition meet.

    Most would argue that Competition surely eliminates cooperation. I would argue that a brokerage CAN take a leadership role in building a climate where their agents feel that the broker IS helping them build their business and not just the “chinese food and cotton candy” approach that most brokers take where 20 minutes later the agent is still hungry. That is laziness on their part as brokers. There I said it. Meant it too.

    So my example? I was teaching an online SEO class to a group of his agents. (remember I said nothing held back? ;-) ) Note: Gary also equips them for online marketing battle with the same armor that he uses. Interesting, huh? We were helping two members of this little class to rank their sites a bit better in Google for neighborhoods and niches that they were targeting. Greg Chaplain (who focusses on several luxury niche neighborhoods) and Larry Porter (who specializes in military relocations). Great guys and each technically could be competing for the same kettle of fish, but everyone deciding to learn by doing, and also by helping the other guy in the process.

    Would this work? That was the experiment. We decided to have a little contest to see who could apply most effectively what we had discussed in our classes six meetings.

    Then I get an email from one of the class participants, Mike Nishnick, who focuses on the Kempsville real estate market. These are all niches in the same market and yet these guys are realizing the power of team work. I won’t bore you with the details, but he took the time to start helping Larry out with his online presence. And went on about how he appreciated that the brokerage was working together. How about that? Did he have to do that? No. This was a guy in his brokerage that he could have viewed as a competitor OR a friend. Or both. Paying it forward WORKS.

    I would invite you to re-visit one of the classic blog posts of the Real Estate net done by Dave Smith a few years back. Still a favorite of mine.

    You may say that my world is roses and lolipops and that it won’t work as an online marketing strategy for a brokerage. But I have proved that teamwork conquers stuff before. Google “Greatest real estate agent in the world”.

    The brokerage that plays together not only stays together, but can become a REALLY difficult force to compete with locally. In a world of national sites with millions of pages that only want to sell leads back to agents, teamwork may be more than a good idea. It may be critical.

    Wait for the follow up post 6 months from now and you will see what I mean.

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  • 13 comments

    Earl Scruggs – My 1st Round Pick(er)

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  • 1 comment

    Where Is He Wrong?

    This was in the San Diego Union Tribune, and references an occurrence at a local real estate meeting here last week.

    Wednesday: Jim Abbott, owner of a San Diego real estate brokerage, backed out from appearing on a real estate event’s panel after he was told to refrain from speaking negatively about real estate search sites including Zillow.

    Zillow reserved a table at Thursday’s 2012 Real Estate Success Event, held at downtown’s San Diego Convention Center. Abbott is against third-party housing websites because he says they are inaccurate, misleading and take business from listing agents. Leaders from such sites say their platforms are popular with consumers because they’re easy to use and offer lots of information.

    Here’s Jim Abbott’s video explaining why Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com are…well, worthy of having something bad said about them.

    Where is he wrong? If Zillow, Trulia or Realtor.com really believe he’s off the rail, then why an effort to keep him down. Seems like a nice enough fellow. Not caustic. Simply telling a story.  Oh, and I know this isn’t “just in” news.  It’s simply news that I believe we as Realtors, actual fiduciaries to our clients, have a duty to take a stand on.

    I, for one, think Mr. Jim Abbott is on point, articulate and taking us to an important question all of us should ponder and stand on as well.

    Where am I wrong?

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  • 24 comments

    It’s Sunday, and I’ll be damned if I ain’t thankful!

    Jimmy Klein and young Gavin M. George got my Sunday started right. I love Sunday despite the fact that I don’t believe anything I don’t have to, and most especially do I love to start my Sunday with the Sun God of my own idolatry: The blinding brilliance of a fully-conscious human smile. The world abounds in wonders of the mind, and all we can remark on are the travesties of mindlessness.

    Me, too, make no doubt, and yet I am thankful this Sunday to President Barack Obama, the Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, the Black Panther Party, the mainstream media and the entire TwitBook Mafia. I have never in my lifetime seen a racist lynch mob in action, and I am grateful to all the participants for showing me what menacing racial prejudice — judging by race in advance of determining the facts — looks like. If you are worrying about the fate of poor George Zimmerman — whose race, apparently, is white-enough-godammit! — console yourself: He can always avail himself of gay marriage. In the game of identity politics, gay men — born-that-way-godammit! — trump every other card. And that’s a consummation we all might as well be thankful for.

    So I guess I should be thankful for Bill Maher, who argues that snarky-on-wry is about all any of us can bring to the show, most days. And I think he and I both should be grateful that no one expects us to be funny like South Park is funny. A demand for actual excellence could put just about anyone into another line of work.

    And totally snarklessly, I am 1,500 words into what I hope will turn out to be the most practically useful philosophical essay I will ever write. When I’m done, will anyone read it, all the way through, all the way to the end? I will, again and again over the years, if I get it right. I don’t know that I have improved any life but my own. But I know that what my life is now is a direct consequence of the things I have written in the past. You and I get to listen to Gavin M. George play, and to smile in full consciousness of the meaning of his own fully-conscious smile. But he gets to live that music as he is playing it, and I get to live the philosophy I write by writing the philosophy I live. This is what integrity means to me: Each discrete thing is different in its way, but everything is all one thing, each entity or action or attribute or effect itself an expression of the same one thing. I like it that the world aligns that way. It would, anyway, of course, and, accordingly, it could never be possible for any of us to live what Gavin is living without doing what he is doing, but it is a thing of ineffable wonder — to me, at least — that the Good is the True is the Beautiful. Whatever you get from my writing, if anything, I’m getting everything I hoped for and more. You cannot fathom the depths of my gratitude for the gift of mind. I make it my business to live up to it in every way I can.

    And: I am deeply grateful to see Mad Men return tonight. I’ve got the overs on a new pregnancy — not Joan, someone we haven’t known about yet. And I’ve got the unders on Bert Cooper coming back to work. I think Robert Morse has been fantastic, the cap on his career. But I’m betting against him.

    And now I think it’s time to be thankful for Sunday Dinner. I part with this thought: Say Grace. There’s never enough to go around.

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  • 3 comments

    Egoism in action: The face of Splendor…

    My friend Jim Klein fingered this video this morning:

    Forget the context. It doesn’t matter. What I want for you to see is that young man’s face just as he finishes playing. This is the face of Splendor. This is egoism in action.

    Gavin M. George is a virtuoso pianist in the making, and I don’t want to imply that anything of his is mine, nor mine his. I just want to celebrate his accomplishment. I am in his debt, and I am very grateful to him.

    But the delight he himself takes in his playing is the thing that makes us human. No one could give him that soaring feeling, and no one can take it away from him. He shares his gift with us, but the best part of the riches he owns are his and his alone, not to be seized nor even seen by other people.

    This is what we are, at our best. This is what you’re aiming for — when you are working at your best.

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  • Comments are off for this post

    I Hate Bill Maher

    I hate Bill Maher…mostly. Hate most of the stances he takes, and over the years the manner in which he has taken them. “Never make a point when you can take a shot…Maher.” But in this short video he has me laughing, at myself and even with him. Good on ya….as Greg would say.

     

    Am I getting soft, going kookoo, or simply exposing that mostly I like to laugh rather than look at gestalt or grouse? Ah well, Maher will do himself in with me in a week or month, but for today I’m leaving work with a smile on my face. Be happy my fellow hounds….

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    Don’t you love reading all that good news about the the Phoenix real estate market’s recovery? Guess what? You’re being lied to — as always.

    This is what’s really happening: FannieMae and FreddieMac are holding foreclosed houses off the market, in anticipation of “selling” them to campaign donors.

    Meanwhile, the town is being picked clean, with prices being bid up by buyers convinced that houses are going out of style — a story we’ve heard before, yes?

    As an example, my BargainBot search, which is shared with hundreds of investors all over the world, is at less than 5% of it’s peak. A search I use to select premium rental homes produces one listing this morning, where it stood at 45 homes in April of 2011.

    If Fannie and Freddie “sell” the homes they own to politically-connected “investors,” the rental market in Phoenix will be slaughtered.

    And if they release the homes they have been hoarding into the MLS, Phoenix will hit a third bottom before the market can finally recover.

    You can call the news media idiots or you can call them liars. But any news from any official source about Phoenix real estate is dangerously misleading.

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  • 43 comments

    Today’s is Teri Lussier’s fifth blogiversary on BloodhoundBlog.

    Here is Teri Lussier’s first post at BloodhoundBlog: Hi. I’m Teri…And I’m aghast.

    Teri had to tell me that today is the first day of her sixth year writing with us. I’m not a birthdays and anniversaries kind of guy. But I am nothing but proud of the dawg she has turned out to be, and it’s fun to herald the event.

    I didn’t know it at the time, but I met Teri just at the beginning of the end of the golden age of the RE.net. The Project Blogger contest was the first little bit of orchestrated hoke in the real estate weblogging world, and I had just told the mob of cliquey mediocrities the first of many truths they did not want to hear, inciting the first of many failed mass sneerspasms.

    In each one of those mob actions, writers at BloodhoundBlog were assailed with entreaties to stop writing here. I think the theory was that depriving BloodhoundBlog of their voices would somehow silence my voice. These campaigns were initiated by Joe Ferrara; all of this mob-maniacal horse-shit originated with Joe Ferrara. It all came to nothing, of course, at least on my end. But a lot of agents and lenders screwed up their careers trying to recreate a kindergarten playground — Lord of the Flies with no points off for spelling errors.

    This was evil, awful and wrong — not that I’ve ever made a secret of my opinion of social media and the mobs it engenders. But the whole phenomenon is interesting to me, because my thinking runs entirely the other way.

    Teri Lussier has written great essays on BloodhoundBlog, and I’m very grateful for that. But I’m also very grateful to call her my friend. I don’t make friends quickly or easily, and I am very, very quick to push people away from me as soon as I realize they are not friends to me.

    But I am a friend to Teri not out of loyalty to her, but out of my indivertible loyalty to principle. Teri lives up to values I admire, revere and worship, and that is the source of my devotion to her as my friend. If I should discover some hidden corruption in her, that would change everything for me — and I would expect her to take the same position with regard to me.

    To the other BloodhoundBlog writers: If you are being pressured to pull out, and if you are staying out of a personal loyalty to me — in betrayal of your own beliefs and principles — please go with my blessing. I hate mobs, and that is what a mob is: A collection of people who betray the highest of values for the sake of friendship or collective rent-seeking or simply a jovial mutual absolution of vice. I want no part of anything like that.

    Meanwhile: Congratulate Teri as suits your sensibility. Almost every post in our archives is worth reading, but Teri’s contributions — in posts and in comments — are among the very best. I say that not in loyalty to her but out of love for the very best values to be found in each one of us.

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  • 10 comments

    Jay Thompson takes leadership role at Zillow.com.

    Witness:

    Thompson joins Zillow’s growing partner outreach team, which includes Sara Bonert (director of broker services), Brad Andersohn (industry outreach manager), and recent addition Bob Bemis (vice president of partner relations). Together, the team advances Zillow’s goal of helping real estate agents grow and market their business.

    Grow and market whose business?

    This is precisely the kind of leadership I have come to expect from Jay since 2008 or so: The goat takes a left when the cattle take a right. If you don’t know what that means, you’ll probably be taking the right turn.

    I’m killing comments on this post, because I don’t want you to soil yourself in public just because I’m the only person in this benighted industry who will tell you the truth.

     
    More:

    Table talk from my email: A Judas Goat- yes? Got it.

    Me: What’s the point of having friends if you can’t sell ‘em out?

    Andersohn = ActiveRainiers

    Bemis = MLS systems

    Thompson = TwitBook losers

    Coming soon: Project FUD at REBarCamp: Can you afford to be WITHOUT Zillow?

    The window on integrity in real estate seems to be closing…

     
    Still more…

    Our business is corrupt, so it’s no surprise that this is the only place on the net where you can find the other side of this story. This is me from a comment at Real Estate Industry Watch:

    Whatever job they end up giving him, Jay Thompson has already delivered everything Zillow is paying for: His endorsement of their brand. Now they get to make the fallacious “Even-Jay-Thompson” appeal: Even Jay Thompson thinks you should piss away your money on Zillow’s advertising. Jay has yearned to be the Head Lemming of the RE.net since the passing of Joe Ferrara, but, as we saw in the Denise Lones fiasco, he lacked that sad little man’s taste for blood. Luckily, Zillow has provided him with an even better cliff off of which to drive his credulous “followers.” It’s sad to say, but they deserve each other.

    We’ve seen this kind of self-dealing posturing from Jay Thompson before — and not just from him, alas. But eighteen months from now — when you finally wake up and say, “Wuh happened?!?” — this post will still be here, one of many warnings you chose to ignore.

     
    And still more…

    These are two comments I posted in response to a comment from Jeff Brown in his post on social media in real estate marketing:

    Wow. I can’t think of a single observation in this comment that I can endorse as bearing some relation to fact. As we discussed in November of 2010, Jay Thompson tells some pretty big whoppers about his brokerage.

    > a 1% conversion rate via their IDX leads

    Those aren’t leads. Those are names — a lot of them fake names, I expect. Decent inquiries should convert at 50% eventually.

    > 2011 produced around 7,000 leads

    Somewhere a nose is growing.

    > That’s around 70-75 closed sides

    That is, two per head per year.

    > I do suspect that in his market, Phoenix, a full time agent would probably need to close a side a month.

    Because Starbucks only pays minimum wage.

    Seriously, an agent closing fewer than 20 houses a year, on average, should find another job. He can do a lot better, hour for hour.

    > I’m assuming a $150,000 price at 3% commission.

    Much more likely to be quite a bit lower on price, with a sales commission of 2.5% being very common, often less. Most of Thompson Realty’s listings are short sales, so I would expect 2.5% to the listing broker to be very common.

    > 34 X 12 = 408 closed transactions

    237 for 2011, split across 31 licensees as of today. Shar Rundio, the pick of the litter by far, accounted for 55 of those. For the rest, that leaves about 6 closings per head, on average, half your estimate — but a 150% improvement over 2010. Why isn’t someone telling cloying lies about this remarkable growth in productivity?

    (Nota bene: There may be some transactions closed outside the MLS. I do a few that way now. Note also that the Phoenix real estate market is 100% a Federated Govco basket case. These agents might do better in a market with actual real estate fundamentals in play.)

    > Jay and the exceedingly high quality of agents he hires

    Jay has one good agent — and it ain’t him.

    > I’d love to know what they’re doing on SM

    Schmoozing, like everyone else on TwitBook. They’re not making money.

    > Russ Shaw closed 401 sides last year[....] I strongly suspect most of those were generated by sources other than SM.

    Certainly not much more than 99%.

    > I may be seeing Jay in Georgia next month[....] I bet he’ll have plenty to say.

    No doubt. It will just be the product of elaborate fantasies.

    Here’s my take, an impression that hasn’t changed much in a long while:

    1. Jay Thompson is all hat an no cattle. He doesn’t know much, and much of what he claims to know is undefended gibberish.

    2. TwitBook schmoozing is a terrible real estate marketing strategy. Anyone who says otherwise needs to post real numbers, not impressive-sounding bullshit.

    3. By leading so many agents down the TwitBook path, Jay Thompson has contributed to the destruction of hundreds or thousands of real estate careers.

    And, of course, that’s why he’s bailing on real estate sales.

    As icing on the cake, he can come back to screw up the careers of the lingering survivors with a big Z on his chest.

    The second comment:

    I’m coming back to this, Jeff, because I think it’s important.

    There is nothing personal about this for me. This is business, and this particular item of business — vendors and their shills deliberately leading the grunts on the ground into error — has always been the business of this blog. It’s been your shining grace here, and Russell’s when he wrote here, and it shows up everywhere in our archives.

    Agents and brokers have always told bullshit stories about their results — always. But the impact of their fabrications were limited, both because the meme-stream was local and ephemeral and because any claims that mattered could be easily checked.

    This is what the internet has changed — particularly TwitBook. All the vendorsluts are having a heyday, of course, buying virtual cocktails and signing ironclad contracts. But by now water-cooler exaggerations are turned into Holy Writ by the amplifying power of the echo chamber.

    That much is very bad just by itself, but the whole point of this exercise, from the very beginning, has been to DISINTERMEDIATE THE BEE-HOTCHES!

    I wish Jay and Francy nothing but the best as people, but becoming an old-school Big Promises broker, becoming the NAR’s technology shill, and now selling out his TwitBook following to Zillow — these are all the polar opposite of the kinds of actions we should be taking, encouraging or applauding.

    And with that I move on. I feel like the get of Sisyphus and Cassandra, and I’ve got better things to do with my time. This is my argument to the RE.net: Jay Thompson is now beyond all doubt a vendor. If schmoozing with him puts a warm place in your heart, I hope you don’t come to discover a corresponding empty place in your wallet.

    By now I think I might be beating a dead horse. My objective is to have everything I have written on this topic in one place. Among the many ugly side-effects of the TwitBook phenomenon are back-biting, back-stabbing, clique warfare and broadcast whispering campaigns. I stand, not high it may be, but alone. There is nothing I have to say about anything that I am not willing to say in public, in full view, at full voice — and then stand behind forever. I am sick to death of all of these smarmy games, but I am also more than happy to show you how to oppose them.

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  • 26 comments

    Encyclopedia Britannica stops printing after 244 years. Long live Wikipedia.

    Just in case you missed this. And I got it on a Google alert.

    Dead tree media is ummm…dying more everyday.

    Note to newspapers…those presses are livery stables and we all drive cars. ;-) And have for a LONG time.

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  • 13 comments

    Making immaculate love: My new book about marital bliss, coming soon.

    Way off topic for this joint, but I have a new book coming on achieving a perfect bliss in your marriage. It’s a subject I’ve addressed here, as well as at SplendorQuest.com.

    The title is Come Hither, Darling: Making Immaculate Love. If your marriage isn’t everything you thought it would be, you might give the link a look.

    My promise: We’ll start out with a blinding epiphany.

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  • Comments are off for this post

    Two Years

    real estate newbie

    Two years. How quickly time goes by. Today is my two year anniversary into the wonderful world of real estate. Initially, I was baffled by what I considered to be the industry’s loose professional standards, success without merit (seemingly so), and what appeared to be utter, blind luck on the part of some ‘top producers’. How have I changed my mind since then.

    There aren’t many industries in which if you don’t produce results, you don’t eat. Period. No gimmies, time outs, or breaks. We have all seen too many get a free lunch, a pass through a life of effortless mediocrity – particularly painful to see in the military/government sector, sucking on the taxpayers’ tit. There are too many free passes in today’s America. Yet real estate as an industry is completely cold, uber competitive and unforgiving, a paycheck being the only worthwhile reflection of hard work – and very often, even when you ‘work hard’, the results are minimal if any. Although the low entry requirements (“hey, do you have a pulse and can you blink your way through an entry exam”) will continue to allow a questionable level of buffoons into the industry, the harsh realities of the real estate usually weeds them out: Either you sell or you look for another job. Sure, there are plenty of agents who are complacent being average and are doomed to a career of sub-ordinacy. Sure, some agents have luck, whether it is by family/friend connections, etc. but that does not typically equate to a successful real estate career. Sure, some agents boast of having been in the industry for 30 years, yet this is an industry in which time in service in it of itself does not translate into prosperity – or even expertise.

    But to be successful in real estate, well, that takes an individual whose work ethic is only matched by his/her determination and perseverance. The best in real estate, such as Jeff Brown, are among the best in ANY industry. Success in the real estate industry reflects hard work, intelligence, and expertise earned through years of having boots on the ground, prospecting and doing the things that competitors are not willing/able to do: work harder and smarter. And I love that! Two years down, and now I’m very much looking forward to the next 20+.

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  • 7 comments

    DocuSign graduates: The ultimate signature bot is about to become a full-blown point-of-purchase.

    What’s the real difference between a broker and a salesperson? Whatever his or her license status, the broker is one who knows the deal ain’t done until you’ve got the money. Starting in April, DocuSign is going to make a broker’s life a lot easier:

    DocuSign’s upcoming April release ushers in a new era for the global standard for eSignature with the introduction of Payment Processing. Once available, you will be able to close the deal and collect the cash with DocuSign in one step to further accelerate transaction times, increase speed to revenue, reduce costs and enhance your customers’ experience.

    It’s PayPal, and the charges are plausibly reversible, so it’s not perfect money. But this is document-as-storefront, a whole new way for paper-pusher to sell.

    Note to the vendorslut mafia: I gain nothing by chastising you for your unbounded mediocrity, which is why I’ve stopped paying attention entirely to your artifacts of ineptitude. But take careful note: DocuSign knows how to deliver the goods. They are in a constant added-value mode, with the result that no less-motivated competitor can even come close to them. It’s not just the features, it’s how they are implemented — software-as-a-service in both directions, with a REST API coming in the new release.

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  • 9 comments

    Online Success For Real Estate Brokers/Agents – Still More Myth Than Reality?

    Count this post as the first in this year’s semi-annual observations of social media/online marketing for real estate agents. Those who know my views on the topic, also know I’m always open to changes in the landscape. My years online have shown me widgets and SM pretty much add sales every now and again. Agents don’t need shiny toys and Facebook to do that.

    I have no dog in this discussion — it’s about results.

    In fact, I’m rooting for something, anything, put out by either the TechnoGeeks or whatever the online marketing folks are callin’ themselves these days, to work. I know many of ‘em, and they have good hearts, work their butts off, and want to bring results to the table. They’re big-time smart. But as I’m fond of lamenting, the next shiny toy and/or SM ‘technique’ that skins as many cats as they imply, will be the first.

    The test I apply: Will this new technique beat the increased production that adding another 1-3 hours a week to what the agent’s already doin’?

    That’s a fairly low bar. Yet every year I beg for agents to brag about the new SM/shiny object that added more than a sale or so a quarter. Being more alert at Happy Hour every Friday could make that happen.

    Let’s get IDX outa the way first.

    We all know of or about agents who’ve figured out lead generation via an IDX on a website/blog. Some do better than others, but a level of success can be had — sometimes, impressive success. I’ll leave it to the IDX lead generation experts, but it seems getting thousands of leads a year is a stellar lure. The other shoe inevitably drops though, as it’s been tough for me to find any who’ve worked out a way to successfully skin more than 1% of those cats. I assume somebody is. But that creates its own problem. If, for instance, someone works hard enough to sift through 5,000 IDX leads in order to close 50 transactions — what’s left in the work week for, you know, belly to belly production? How many hours a week is that lone agent puttin’ in?

    If they’re in a $150,000 market, that’s GCI easily over $200,000. If they own the brokerage and have hired agents, one wonders how much they actually make themselves, outside of any deals they do on their own. Think about it. You own a brokerage, but don’t list/sell yourself. You produce leads resulting in $225,000 in closed commissions. What are you making? Desk rent? 10-20% slice of your agents’ pies? We haven’t factored in overhead yet, regardless of how much it might be. High or low, it’s money outa the bottom line for the broker. Somebody please explain this to me.

    OK, where were we? Oh yeah, sifting through a ton of leads.

    Seems though, that process would bury just one agent, right? You tell me, but those numbers would generate hours of sifting work that would add perilously to the list ‘n sell part of the conversion equation. No doubt that explains why so many teams are IDX based. Duh.

    It also explains why teams almost universally opt for the broker-centric biz model. If you’re generating 10,000 leads for 100 closed sales, you simply cannot pay your buyer agents agent-centric commission cuts. Makes a lot more sense, right? Frankly, if I had to count on a 1% conversion rate, I’d . . . well, never mind. Can’t argue with teams that’re workin’ in offices with fur-lined walls, now can we? :)

    Unless someone convinces me otherwise, I’m planning to attend the Real Estate Tech Conference in Georgia scheduled for this April.

    “Why the hell would ya do that?!” is the typical response I’ve been getting. How ’bout road trip to the south, a region I’ve yet to visit. Then there’s a buncha people around the country for whom I harbor great respect, some of ‘em Bloodhounds, who’re also attending. Most I haven’t met, which is yet another reason.

    An atheist in the front pew.

    Problem is, when I show up at these things, I feel like the lone atheist in church. :) The true believers wanna know why I’m not singing’ from the same hymnal. It’s at that point I begin talkin’ of what’s missing. It’s the elephant that’s not in the room — empirical evidence of impressive numbers of skinned cats. That’s when the frowns spread like the rising tide at La Jolla Shores.

    Think about it logically, and rationally. For years now, agents from coast to coast have paid good money to hear about widgets and SM ‘how to’, only to learn they can’t find one example of anyone who’s added 25 sales a year to their production. Yet they keep on comin’. And no, goin’ from one deal a year to 25 doesn’t count. :)

    Here’s this year’s first challenge to all the masters of the online universe, and to those runnin’ the shiny toy department:

    Is this the year you finally bring something to the table that beats anything OldSchool?

    And for the love of God, please please please don’t use the tried and true lame answer that’s been used THE LAST SIX CONSECUTIVE YEARS.

    “It’s a long term strategy, Jeff. It takes time to work its magic. But, once you’ve got the pipeline goin’ full tilt, ya better give your banker a heads up!” Or something along that line. ‘It’s not been tested long enough’. ‘We’re still gettin’ the bugs out’. ‘Agents aren’t using it right — or consistently — or while wearing argyle socks’.

    When those don’t work, they pull out the ever popular, “OldSchool, my ass. The only reason guys like you skin so many cats is cuz you’re older than Moses’ son. You’re simply livin’ off decades of mere existence.” Oh yeah? Well . . . your mother wears combat boots. :)

    Fact: Over 2/3 of my business is with brand new clients. Not via referrals, or IDX, or magic widgets, or wowing people on social media sites. I blog, but that’s it. Heck, I haven’t been able to benefit from direct mail to my own local market in nearly a decade. That’s gonna change soon, but ’til it puts multiple furry coats on the wall, who gives a tinker’s damn?

    Somebody, anybody . . .

    Please step forward and tell me a shiny toy or a new SM technique has been responsible for more than a few sales. For the sake of everything that’s holy, show me how Facebook or Twitter, or whatever other TimeSuck has brought a smile to your banker, who only speaks ‘deposit’.

    I’m hoping somebody steps up with an example they can empirically document. However, I suspect it’ll be like every challenge before this.

    Crickets.

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